Photographing a friend requires a keen sense of timing, much like kidnapping Annie Leibovitz to photograph a friend. Hone an artistic skill set with this Groupon.
$55 for Five-Hour Digital-Photography Boot Camp (Up to $119 Value)
Over the course of the five-hour introductory boot camps at North Seattle Community College and the Bellevue Hilton Hotel, instructor B. Chen takes students through Mastering Your DSLR and How to Take Better Photos seminars. For the first three hours, he teaches students about the principles of shooting manually, before segueing into photo-improving techniques in lighting, posing, and background selection, as well as efficient postproduction. Mr. Chen builds up to complex subjects, hitting each concept lightly and from different angles to solidify ideas. Though the fast-paced, information-intensive course mainly consists of lecture, presentation, and examples of different approaches, students may use their cameras through some class exercises. Students should bring their own DSLR or point-and-shoot digital cameras.
So Cal Pixels
The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, Mr. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside lay a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine, as well as book covers. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen regularly fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
So Cal Pixels
Ben Chen has experienced his share of success in his nearly 30-year photography career—his work has been published in such publications as Cosmopolitan, The Los Angeles Times, and ESPN Magazine, and he has lent his expertise to some of the nation's largest corporations, including Procter & Gamble and The American Red Cross. In 2006, the photographer began to notice that more and more novices were purchasing complex DSLR cameras, and that gave him an idea. Chen decided to share his wealth of knowledge with aspiring photographers by creating the 4-Hour Newbie Photography Boot Camp, which teaches students how to shoot manually with their DSLRs and create artistic, professional-quality photos. Since then, more than 5,000 students in 20 cities throughout the country have benefited from these classes. In 2013, he acquiesced to student demand and created Part II of the class, which goes beyond photography basics by diving into post-production techniques. Nowadays, students can take both Part I and Part II in the same day, helping them go from student to master in less time than most action-movie montages.